“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.” …
This quote, from the novel Divergent, highlights why some of what I read is Young Adult fiction.
I read for truth. Truth and hope.
Young adult novels, regardless of genre, reflect the virtue of hope. They are not afraid to honestly portray hope as a human desire. The worlds of YA novels are not tainted by unnervng, unforgiving, unending cyncicism. For, while cynicism, exists, as in Quicksilver by R. J. Anderson, the cynicism of a girl who is different and who learns to mistrust others, there also exists a parallel of hope . Maybe things can be different. Maybe “… two people who care deeply about something bigger than each other,……drawn together by a shared commitment to that common ideal or goal” can describe both friendship – and love.
It is this hope that marks the call to action one encounters in YA fiction. YA fiction has a strong voice. It is often written in first person. It bends genres – think of Eleanor and Park – romance fiction but also realistic fiction, with some humour and the marks of pop culture. The novel, of despair tinged with hope and love, with a celebration of different, is also, in its way, a coming of age and school story , with overtones of philosphical fiction (What does it mean to be us? What is love? Who and what are we?).
Young adult fiction forms and informs the reader (And for those of us who are no longer young adults, it reminds us of this formation and youth).
Or the advice given to Opal, in Because of Winn Dixie, to hold those we love loosely, in the palms of our hands.
Young adult fiction encourages new writers. The writing is often superb. Articulate voices craft these stories. They invite us into the narrative, into the minds and souls of the characters. We become a different person after immersion in the lives of others.
We remember. And we look to the future.
We, like the young adults for whom YA fiction is written, begin to understand more of our complex world and more of the complexity of others.
YA fiction pushes us towards positive change.